Serious impact: Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, with Jeremy Renner, was one of three 2009 films in which moviemakers finally came convincingly to grips with the Iraq War. Jonathan Olley/Summit Entertainment hide caption

itoggle caption Jonathan Olley/Summit Entertainment

Collective Action: When mysterious violence plagues their town, village elders (including the local baroness, played by Ursina Lardi) set out to pinpoint a cause. The trouble, suggests director Michael Haneke, is that causes are everywhere. Films du Losange/Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

itoggle caption Films du Losange/Sony Pictures Classics

Free All That You Can Be: George Clooney and Kevin Spacey starred in The Men Who Stare at Goats. The film's tone, as Ronson told NPR's Guy Raz in November, is much more humanistic and warm-hearted than his book — "like Little Miss Sunshine Goes to War." Laura Macgruder hide caption

itoggle caption Laura Macgruder

Elizabeth Marvel as Louisa May Alcott, who loved to run. Liane Brandon hide caption

itoggle caption Liane Brandon